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La Concepción reservoir supplies the Costa del Sol. J.C. Domínguez
This is how artificial intelligence will be used to combat drought on the Costa del Sol
Drought crisis

This is how artificial intelligence will be used to combat drought on the Costa del Sol

Digital tools that will help control wetlands and monitor pipes for leaks will be used in a new strategy to ease the Andalucía region's drought crisis

María Albarral

Marbella

Tuesday, 2 April 2024, 19:54

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Extreme droughts and floods are just some of the consequences of climate change on our planet and, for this reason, cities and towns are looking for ways to manage and optimise resources. In the case of the Costa del Sol, we are currently in the midst of an extreme drought and one of the keys to preventing this type of catastrophe happening again lies precisely in controlling and optimising water storage and avoiding any type of wastage.

What are the solutions? The sustainable management of the water cycle requires a digital transformation of the service which, in this regard, water supply company Acosol told SUR a few weeks ago, it is going to launch a project called, digital transformation for water resilience on the western Costa del Sol (Agua 360). It has a budget of 10 million euros and aims, through new technologies and artificial intelligence (AI), to save water and combat drought.

Storage is therefore one of the key stages in the water cycle (collection, treatment, storage, distribution, sanitation and purification). In the case of the western coast of Malaga province, the reservoir that supplies residents is La Concepción reservoir, to which various aquifers are added.

One of the objectives set by the Junta de Andalucía is to "calculate the available resources, both surface and groundwater, with the utmost rigour", and for this purpose digital transformation is essential as knowing the data accurately offers the possibility of more effective decision-making. Without new technologies, it is not possible to know the water reserves with total precision.

The reservoirs are reached by river water which, along its course, transports small particles of rock and organic matter that tend to accumulate in the reservoirs and end up creating large quantities of mud that reduce the capacity of the reservoir. The actions determined will enable real-time monitoring of water abstractions from different sources such as LaConcepción reservoir and the Guadalmansa, Guadalmina and Guadaiza rivers.

Project

This action plan proposed by Acosol not only affects storage, but all stages of the water cycle. "It is a global and very ambitious project with which we have two very clear objectives. On the one hand, to use and manage water more efficiently, maximising the use of the resource and acting more quickly and effectively in the event of incidents, as well as digitalising and modernising all the data management, monitoring and remote control systems of our facilities," Ascol CEO Matilde Mancha told SUR.

"This will allow us to be more decisive, more efficient and more sustainable. It is a real technological revolution that, regardless of whether or not we obtain the subsidy with European funds, we are going to incorporate into our action plan to adapt little by little."

Digitisation and artificial intelligence (AI) will be the main tools to control everything from storage in reservoirs to supply pipes to prevent leaks, among other issues. A total of 35 specific measures will be implemented to improve the control and saving of water resources, as well as obtaining real-time data for analysis and decision-making. "We are fully aware of this issue and this system will allow us to control leaks in real time in order to detect any possible incident or breakdown in our system and act, resulting in greater savings that we hope will exceed 5%," Mancha said.

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